In my quest for meat perfection I decided to try something I saw demonstrated to perfection at Caxton Grill a few days ago. My steak was courtesy of Westin Gourmet and was an American Rib Eye. I have to say, this isn’t something I’d generally buy. Although the meat was beautifully marbled, there was an eye of fat which I didn’t know how to deal with. And, it was cut a little thinner than I’d like. I have friends who RAVE about rib eye steak – but then, I also have friends who prefer sirloin over fillet. I think the CUT of meat is very much a matter of personal taste. But, the perfect victim for a Porcini mushroom rub in my mind – after all, the concept of ‘rubs’ for steaks is something that is a lot more popular in the States.
Here’s what I did.
For the porcini rub
1 tablespoon of dried porcini mushrooms
Half a teaspoon of peppercorns
Blitzed in the food processor until powdered.
I took the steak out of the fridge about an hour before it was time to cook it, and coated it with the rub on both sides, covered it and left it to reach room temperature.
Meanwhile I wanted some chips but I was a little nervous of double frying without a deep fat fryer. I made my oven chips by peeling a couple of floury potatoes (marie pipers in my case) and then cutting fat chips. I parboiled these, just as you would do for roast potatoes, but then rinsed them under cold water and let them cool down. To cook, I coated them in sunflower oil and put them in a hot oven for about 20 minutes.
I made a Béarnaise Sauce.
For the Béarnaise
1 tablespoon white wine
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 finely chopped shallot
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon of fresh tarragon finely chopped
Cook the shallot and half the tarragon in the wine and wine vinegar until the liquid has reduced by about 50%.
Put the mixture into a bowl that you can rest over a pan of boiling water.
With the water simmering gently, whisk in the egg yolk.
Now add small chunks of the butter, whisking all the time, till you have a thick buttery sauce. Add the remainder of the tarragon
Put somewhere to keep warm while you cook the steak which you should do about 5 minutes before the chips are ready.
To cook the steak
Heat a metal griddle or iron skillet. You may need to season with a little oil, but you don’t need a sea of fat, you should be dry frying this type of meat.
When the griddle is as hot as possible, add the steak and cook for about a minute on each side for rare. There’s a test for doneness which involves pressing the middle of the meat with your finger. Check this link for how to get the perfect result without a thermometer (which isn’t very effective on thinner cuts anyway). I have to say, mine was closer to medium than rare, mostly because the phone rang at the crucial point!
Take the griddle off the heat and put the steak in a warm place to rest for about 5 minutes. This bit is VERY important. When you cut into the meat, you shouldn’t see any blood running, EVEN if it’s rare. The resting process allows the meat juices to settle back into the meat, giving you a really tender result.
Serve with a simple green salad.
I think the porcini rub really helped this cut of meat by creating a ‘crust’ that kept all the meat juices in. It was very tender and beautifully flavoured, as was all the meat I have been testing from Westin Gourmet. But, I will still buy sirloin or fillet by choice; simply because I got the impression the rib eye might have a higher fat content.